Best Time to Visit San Francisco
[ Insider Tips ]

When is the Best Time to Visit San Francisco?

If you’re dreaming of a seaside Bay area vacation free of crowds, you’ll need to know when the best time to visit San Francisco is.

Ultimately, the right time for a San Francisco trip depends on what you want to accomplish or get out of your vacation. Determine what type of trip works for you and discover when the best time to visit San Francisco is.

The San Francisco cityscape

Which Season Has the Fewest Crowds?

If you want to experience the best San Francisco has to offer without pushing your way through a crowd, you’ll need to visit in a “shoulder” season. School’s are still in session during the spring and fall seasons, meaning families are not taking vacations to the Bay Area during this time.

However, if you choose to visit during the shoulder seasons, keep in mind that school breaks still occur! Spring and fall breaks result in a quick influx of tourists descending upon the city, so plan your trip accordingly.

If you must travel to San Francisco in the summer, you can still avoid the crowds by visiting attractions early in the day or late in the evening. Or, steer clear of tourist attractions such as Pier 39 altogether. And, remember to take advantage of the area’s ample parks and hiking trails for fewer crowds and more fresh air!

A woman in a plaid coat walks up the street past the iconic Painted Ladies houses in San Francisco

When Should I Visit for the Best Rates?

For those adhering to a strict travel budget, the best time to visit San Francisco is in the winter months. Since this is the Bay Area’s rainy season, the weather is a bit dismal and drives away tourists looking for a sunny winter getaway.

While the weather isn’t pristine, the hotel and transportation rates are the lowest they’ll be all year! If you’re fine with bundling up to explore the city, you can take advantage of giant savings throughout the Bay Area. In fact, most hotels are looking to stay booked throughout the winter and may offer enticing discounts and packages.

Of course, since the winter weather in San Francisco isn’t the best, it’s important to know exactly what to pack. You don’t want to be caught in a rainstorm wearing shorts and sandals. Use our San Francisco packing guide to plan for your trip.

A woman in a white shirt, black pants, and a brown sun hat sits on the beach with a picnic with the Golden Gate Bridge and National Park area in the horizon.

Which Season Has the Best Weather?

This may come as a surprise, but the fall months in San Francisco have hotter temperatures than the entire summer season. If you’re interested in lounging by the beach or hiking through the Redwoods, you’ll want to visit during the fall season. Locals refer to this season as the Indian Summer.

With average temperatures in the 70s and minimal fog, you’ll have perfect weather throughout your trip.

Again, make sure you pack properly for the season! The breeze along the bay doesn’t go away, so wearing layers is key.

A man meets a fork in the road around a massive Redwood tree in Muir Woods

What Time of Year is Great for Outdoor Adventures?

Although there’s never a bad time for outdoor adventures, tourists who don’t fare well with poor weather will find the spring and fall seasons to be up their alley. These seasons see few tourists on the trails or in the water and pleasant weather.

However, you can explore San Francisco’s hiking trails, beaches, parks, and outdoor activities all year long. There’s no such thing as a “bad” time to go outside! Sure, the weather may not be picture perfect, but don’t let that stop you from discovering the beauty of the Bay Area.

The Golden Gate Bridge from the suspension view

When is the Absolute Best Time to Visit San Francisco?

If you’re searching for excellent travel rates and gorgeous weather, fall is the absolute best time to visit San Francisco.

Tourists have gone home and back to school, which causes hotel and transportation prices to drop slightly. And, the Indian Summer is here, leading to stunning weather ideal for going to Alcatraz Island, strolling through Muir Woods, or taking advantage of the endless free things to do.

When Will You Visit San Francisco?

Ready to plan your San Francisco getaway? Remember to bundle your activity, tour, and attraction tickets with your choice of hotel for even more savings.